Other than our friends there isn’t much we miss about DC—at least yet. Except maybe our yard, but that is more for the dog’s convenience than ours. And maybe our favorite restaurant, Mark’s Kitchen.
Mark’s was our comfort place where we went to relax and have nice meals served by people who quickly became our friends. We went every Sunday, and sometimes more often than that. But Sundays were special to us. When we were going to yoga classes, we would stop by immediately aftwards. When we weren’t, we would go early to avoid the rush. The place was so much like our own home, that Mark and the staff (Hi Kate, Ann, Sarah, Benji and Kiran!) would just laugh as we cleared our own tables, or got up to get any condiments we might want. A few times Mark called us honorary staff members and would knock 20 percent off our check.
When we left for Vermont, we half-jokingly said that job number one was to find a place for our special Sunday breakfast. We knew we couldn’t ever replace Mark’s Kitchen—especially not the numerous vegetarian and Korean options on the menu—but we hoped we would find a place to relax on Sunday mornings.
Our first attempt was a place across the street from our flat, named The Coffee Corner, but that plan fell through after a less than good experience with a lunch the second day we arrived. The fries were crap, the burger bland, and they left out the cole slaw despite promising Sarah it was in the bag. All that, and it was expensive. We may give it another chance for breakfast, but first impressions are lasting ones.
Our next attempt was a place called The Wayside Restaurant & Bakery. We had passed it a few times on our way to and from our storage facility in Barre. It looked almost like a truck stop, and the parking lot was packed with cars (not trucks) each time we drove by it. After getting a second opinion (so to speak) from Jessamyn we decided to give it a try.
The Wayside ends up being a great little spot. There isn’t much on the lunch and dinner menu for vegetarians such as Sarah but the breakfast menu has plenty of options. The place is clean, the wait staff very friendly, and the prices are amazing. We can both eat for under $15 and be stuffed for hours. It’s not Mark’s Kitchen, but that’s okay. Vermont isn’t Maryland either. We weren’t looking to replace our favorite restaurant in Maryland, so much as find a new place to spend our lazy Sunday mornings. We’ll certainly miss our friends at Mark’s, but The Wayside suits us just fine.
Until last week I hadn’t been to the theater to see a movie since Marc, Lori, Josh and I went to see Lord of the Rings. Not having read the book*, I didn’t find this movie all that interesting. Especially considering all the hype that surrounded it. But last week I saw two excellent—and very different—films that I enjoyed very much: Monsoon Wedding and Spider-man.
Monsoon Wedding is a film by Mira Nair, an Indian-born producer/director, who made her directorial debut in 1988 with the Academy Award-nominated Salaam Bombay! Monsoon Wedding tells the story of a modern Indian family coming together for the arranged marriage of Aditi and Hermant. But while the bride and groom are important characters in the film, Monsoon Wedding is not entirely their story. It is the story of family, and of the joy and pain that comes from being a part of one. It is about a father’s love for his children—as well as his departed brother’s—and the sacrifices he makes for their happiness. As cliche as it sounds, I laughed and I cried. I cheered and clenched my fists. This is a beautiful film on many levels, and I encourage folks to catch it. I know it will become a part of my DVD collection.
The other film I saw this weekend was Spider-Man. Now, I have never been a fan of the so-called summer blockbuster, and I was never a comic book reader, but Spider-man is not the traditional over-the-top action movie that seems to define previous films about comic book characters. For instance, for the first time in such a film, the superhero does not have his superpowers when he is introduced to the audience. This alone makes for a much more personal experience with the film and the characters. Another difference between this film and previous movies based on comic book characters is that the film doesn’t rely on special effects, outrageous plots, and sillier and sillier villains. Sure there are some really cool FX, but they aren’t ground-breaking, and they don’t overshadow the film’s story. At its core, this film is a love story, but it had a little something for everyone. For these reasons it is no surprise that it broke box office records this weekend.
* I have since read all three books, and then re-watched the first 2 movies. I liked them much better after reading the books.